Etihad Airways is keen to expand its footprint in South America/ James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways, said that the airline is currently in discussions with South American-based carriers about potential commercial partnerships.
The airline will launch its first route in South America on June 1, 2013, with daily non-stop flights between Sao Paulo, Brazil and its home base of Abu Dhabi.
It currently has 38 codeshare partnerships with airlines around the globe, resulting in a combined network of 323 destinations, more than any other Middle Eastern airline.
Beyond its own organic growth, codeshare partnerships and equity stakes are a significant and growing part of the airline’s expansion strategy. Etihad Airways holds a 30 per cent stake of Air Berlin, 40 per cent of Air Seychelles, 3 per cent of Aer Lingus and 10 per cent of Virgin Australia.
Etihad Airways’ service will also provide seamless connections from Brazil to the airline’s global network, offering connectivity over Abu Dhabi to markets in the Gulf Co-operation Council, the Indian Subcontinent and Asia.
“Brazil is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, now ranking as the sixth largest since overtaking the UK in 2011.
Bilateral trade between Brazil and the UAE is valued at nearly $3 billion annually, with authorities aiming to lift this to $10bn within five years, said Hogan.